Donald Trump is all in for 2024 – despite the massive amount of mistakes he has already made. The question millions of Americans are asking is simple: can Donald Trump really win?
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Voters often ask themselves “How much does candidate x care about me?”; or “Would I want to be this candidate to be my neighbor?”; and “Would I go out to dinner with this person?”
An election, after all, is a popularity contest.
For many people, when it comes to Donald Trump, the answer is in the negative for all three questions. He has voters who downright hate him and the ground he walks on. This makes things difficult for him to win a general election in which turning out a candidate’s base level of supporters is important but appealing to moderates and independents is more so.
But can Donald Trump get over those challenges and win in 2024?
One thing is for sure: Trump will make this one crazy and tough election.
Trump Is Not Assured of Victory in the Primary
He will have a number of people who are likely to run against him.
The top of the list at this point is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
There are also people in Trump’s orbit who are thought to be presidential hopefuls such as former Vice President Mike Pence, one-time Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Hailey.
Others with no connection to Trump’s administration like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott may be eyeing runs.
Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden: Looks Like a Re-match
Let’s say he navigates this field and uses his brand of derisive nicknames and scorn to wear other candidates out and he emerges victorious in the primary.
He then faces a re-match with President Joe Biden.
Even though a significant number of Democrats would prefer someone else to run, Biden at this point looks to have a hold on his party after performing better than expected in the midterm elections of 2022.
Could This Be One of the Most Painful Campaigns in History?
So, it’s here we go again with Trump and Biden.
Can you imagine another debate between these two?
There would be even more interruptions and rules violations filled with vitriol. Or how about all the negative political ads? Could you stand that? There would be Trump’s ever present rallies in which he goads and insults the president.
There would be Joe Biden portraying Trump and all of his supporters as enemies of democracy and extremists. The length of the campaign would be insufferable as well. It has already started and there is a long way to go before voting starts.
What Is a Q Score?
Both candidates have what is called a low “Q rating or Q score.” The Q rating used to be a big deal that was used to rate television news anchors on their likability. The Q score was seen as a predictor of viewer ratings that were linked to a positive correlation – the greater the Q score, the better the ratings. It is still used to score celebrities and brands on likability.
Both of These Guys Have Work to Do
Trump and Biden would have to improve their Q scores to get more votes.
Biden must work on his credibility and resist telling whoppers and tall tales. His approval ratings have stabilized in the low to mid-40s, so he needs to improve. Trump’s Q rating is lower along with his approval ratings that have dipped into the low 30s. Trump needs to work on solving and seeking closure to a myriad of legal issues that link him to crime and wrongdoing. Biden needs to communicate better without the usual gaffes and nonsensical quotes.
They are both old – Biden is 80 and Trump is 76 – and are past the point where they could inspire voters with vigor and robustness.
Do They Deserve Our Vote?
Donald Trump, beyond his rabid base of supporters who are with him through thick and thin, may not even deserve a vote from independents and disaffected Democrats. There have been too many mistakes and misdeeds. The essence of his character is in question. But Biden has endured difficulties too and presides over an electorate who mostly think the country is on the wrong track. He could continue to be tied to an economy that is heading for the ditch. People are finding it is more difficult to make ends meet due to inflation.
All of these factors may encourage voters to stay home if there is a re-match between these two damaged candidates.
Whoever wins will be seen as a pyrrhic victory as many voters will hold their noses and choose what they think is the least bad option.
Perhaps neither deserves our votes.
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Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.